During season 8 of The Office an overall theme is the unprofessional work environment. Just from watching two episodes I could find multiple examples of this. During an episode called Turf War, two characters, Dwight and Gabe, are having a “see who is stronger” test during working hours. The CEO, Robert, came into work with a hangover and puked in his employee’s garbage can. Not only are personal problems being brought to the work place but also invasion of privacy is taking place. The CEO Robert and an employee named Pam are going through the managers cell phone and listening to her voicemails in order to find out what kind of drunken message the CEO Robert had left her the night before. In another scene the employees are shown making up a fictional person so they could get away with stealing money from the company. Nelly, the manager is shopping online during work instead of actually working on something productive.
The second episode I watched was called Angry Andy. Two of the employees, Kelly and Ryan, are shown groping each other and kissing in the workplace. The CEO shows no control over the company and lets his employees tell him what they can and can’t do. Kelly and Pam are shown shopping for clothes online once again during office hours. Dwight is giving Nelly updates about the office but the updates are about the personal gossip around the office. Another theme to be seen is that sexual comments are often made during the episodes. During this episode a meeting is held for a discussion about an extremely personal problem that one of the employees named Andy is having. Andy is upset about losing the manager position so he starts to throw things and smash things until he eventually punches the wall. These are just a few examples taken from two episodes that give a clear description of what this show is all about.
It is about a work environment where the middle class is being portrayed as unintelligent and lazy. The Office shows a group of people in a bad light. Is this how the working class is seen? Are they known to do as little work as possible to get through the day? Are they seen as uneducated foolish people that are fun to laugh at? These are the types of questions we need to ask ourselves. Why are shows during primetime television depicting the working class as a laughing matter, when the working class is struggling to find work and support their families more now than ever before?
The characters themselves are also stereotyped. The employees that work there, who represent the working class are shown as irresponsible and simpleminded. Two characters are displayed as more sensible ones but at the same time they are showed goofing off and doing anything they can to get out of actually working. The other thing people do not understand is that this is a paper company where most of the employee’s jobs are sales. Sales is not an easy job and it can be very stressful to make a specific quota but that is not shown at all. What if there was a show that actually depicted the type of life these people have and how they do what they can to make ends meet? Would the public be more aware of this and start to realize that class is influenced by certain circumstances? The Office depicts this state of mind as a choice not as something these people do not have much control over either because of their experience or education level.
The Office is not a laughing matter and showing these people as ignorant is a huge misrepresentation of the working class. The working class is portrayed as if it were a lifestyle choice rather than something that is heavily influenced by external forces.
Hulu. (2007, March 22). The Office. (A. Forssell, Editor, J. Kilar , Producer, & NBCUniversal, News Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, Providence Equity Partners and the Hulu team) Retrieved May 19, 2012, from Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/watch/357478/the-office-turf-war